In September 2015 the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, known as the SDGs, were launched. They give a framework to end poverty and reverse human impacts for a more sustainable planet by 2050. The SDGs call for collaboration between all sectors: private, public, grass roots and governments.
The HSBC Water Programme is a five year $100million programme with Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF plus more than 60 local community projects around the world. It is providing and protecting water sources, informing and educating communities in need, enabling people to prosper and driving economic development across the world.
These are just some of the ways that the HSBC Water Programme is helping achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals:
Globally the HSBC Water Programme has given more than one million people access to safe water and provided more than two million people with sanitation with WaterAid.
With support from the HSBC Water Programme Isla Urbana, in Mexico is purchasing materials from local stores and training local people to build and install the rainwater harvesting systems. These ensure sustainable water supply for low-income communities. The communities will save an estimated 12,000 hours spent carrying water and income spent on water.
1,824km of river and 537,239 hectares of wetland have been protected with WWF through the HSBC Water Programme.
Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Urban Slums (WASH-US), funded by the HSBC Water Programme, is harvesting more than 13,000 gallons of rainwater every year and using a solar-powered biogas treatment plant that makes the water safe to drink. The incidence of disease caused and spread by dirty water is reducing and communities are trained to manage, maintain and generate revenue from the facilities to gain valuable skills and a sense of ownership. The project has won a United Nations Water Best Practice Award for its use of renewable energy to provide clean water and sanitation.
The HSBC Water Programme is supporting WWF-India’s Aardhrabhoomi- Wetlands for Life programme, which focuses on river conservation and wetland rejuvenation. As part of the Aardhrabhoomi project, WWF-India has taken up the conservation of two peri-urban wetlands near Bangalore, supporting more than 20,000 people and numerous habitats.
Malta is now ranked as one of the countries with the fewest water resources on the planet. The Government of Malta is running a campaign ‘Catch the Drop’ to promote water conservation in one of the driest countries in the World. In 2013, the HSBC Water Programme began funding the initiative, developing it into a national three-year environmental and educational campaign. In just one year 19,438 students were addressed, the campaign aims to reach every single student in the country – nearly 50,000 in total
HSBC Manager for Corporate Sustainability, Josef Camillieri says: “The HSBC Water Programme in Malta is achieving two vital objectives: raising awareness about water conservation among students across Malta and Gozo, and involving students in water projects to encourage their development as pro-active ambassadors for water conservation and environmental sustainability.”
More than 8,000 HSBC staff have become Citizen Science Leaders, with the skills and tools to monitor their own water quality as part of the largest freshwater monitoring citizen science programme, FreshWater Watch. The 8,000 Citizen Science Leaders, also use their knowledge of the global water challenge to reduce their own waterfootprints through Earthwatch’s FreshWater Watch.
Fundación Cruzada Patagónica has been able to improve access to and governance of freshwater for over 4,000 people living and working in the Mapuche region, Argentina. Sustainable rural practices, such as water efficient irrigation systems, and supporting structural changes with formal and non-formal education children, young people, adults and local organisations from rural communities are benfitting from lasting and sustainable change.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s predominant tea producing countries, “We’ve created a positive example and the mind set of tea garden owners is starting to change. Because the neighbouring tea gardens are raising their voice and raising demands, we’re hopeful that the model we have created will go on even if we are not there.”
Imrul Kayes Muniruzzaman, Director, Fundraising & Learning, WaterAid Bangladesh.
Intensive agriculture and over exploiting water sources is threatening many ecosystems. WWF have been working with fishing communities in the Mekong to develop alternative livelihoods that diversify income and move away from an over-reliance on fishing.
HSBC Citizen Science Leaders are monitoring water quality in more than 30 cities across the world. Researchers at Earthwatch have analysed data from Vancouver, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Curitiba and found that 86% of 150 streams sampled were suffering nutrient levels exceeding limits for eutrophication which can lead to reduced biodiversity and fish kills. The research also found links between landuse and water quality, this will help inform land management.